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Artbound

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Tending Nature

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D. J. Waldie

D. J. Waldie (2017)

D. J. Waldie is the author of "Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir" and "Where We Are Now: Notes from Los Angeles," among other books about the social history of Southern California. He is a contributing editor for the Los Angeles Times.

D. J. Waldie (2017)
Architect Robert V. Derrah remodeled the Coca-Cola Building, located at 1334 South Central Avenue, into a streamlined ocean liner in 1936 | National Park Service
Article
Lost LA

Fantastic! — L.A.’s Architecture of Dreams

The benign climate of Los Angeles, the excellent highways, the desire to escape into an alternate reality and the skills of Hollywood designers were material causes of our architecture of fakery, informing how donuts, ice cream and pianos were sold.
Illuminating Sunbeams in Santa Monica, California | Lynne Gilbert for Getty Images
Article
Lost LA

Different Dreamers: What It Means To Be a Californian Today

The optimistic essence of the California's golden dream endures — as it should — but the future of the state depends on Californians dreaming differently.
Round House, ca. 1885. While still the Garden of Paradise or soon after, the Old Round House veranda and porch were enclosed with siding, turning it into a 12-sided structure. Photograph courtesy of California Historical Society Collection, USC Libraries
Article
Lost LA

The Garden of Paradise: Los Angeles' Lost, Edenic Biergarten

In the 1850s-70s, an elaborately themed garden surrounded the town's most eccentric building, the Round House.
Semi-Tropical California Scenery: Fan-leaf palm (H. T. Payne & Company). Photograph courtesy of California State Library
Article
Lost LA

When Southern California Reinvented Itself as "Semi-Tropical"

L.A. once sold its climate as "semi-tropical" – a term that emphasized the uniqueness of its nature. Semi-tropical was semi-miraculous.
old_chinatown_cropped.jpeg
Article
Lost LA

Murder in Old Los Angeles

L.A. for a generation was extraordinarily violent, even more violent than frontier towns more famous in Western lore.
Guatemala Building. Strikingly colored and edged with stylized designs, the Guatemala building highlighted native textiles. Photograph courtesy of Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Los Angeles Public Library
Article
Lost LA

Flappers and Indians in the Dream City: The Jazz Age Ends in Long Beach

The Pacific Southwest Exposition embodied the spirit of 1920s Hollywood: spectacle for its own sake, cheerful vulgarity, and commercial hard sell.
Ramona Memories
Article
Lost LA

The Invention of Southern California's Spanish Fantasy Past

In the 1880s, an author-activist and a once-prominent Angeleno unwittingly constructed an enduring Spanish fantasy past myth for Southern California.
Bloodletting (thumbnail)
Article
Lost LA

Medicine in Early Los Angeles

At the border of three worldviews – native, colonial, and Anglo – medical care in Los Angeles by the 1850s blended empirical science, European and native folk traditions, and a large dose of medical hucksterism.
Bathing Beauty
Article
Lost LA

How the All-Year Club Sold the L.A. Summer

Most tourists once came to Southern California in the winter – and then the All-Year Club invented the L.A. summer.
Buried Alive (social media)
Article
Lost LA

Real L.A. Noir: The Case of the Blonde Buried Alive

A popular carnival stunt in 1930s Los Angeles featured beautiful Gloria Graves, buried alive in her coffin.
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